By Joe F
There comes a time when a great team that has won many championships comes down to Earth and starts to become average, or just good. This could be the story the this era’s Patriots right now. They have won 3 Super Bowls in the past decade. In 2001, 2003, and 2004. Their last Super Bowl win was 7 years ago. Many of us fail to realize this because the Patriots have been a dominant team in the recent years. Besides the year Brady was out with an injury and then the next year New England has won a lot of games in the regular season. In 2007 they were a Super Bowl victory away from a perfect season. A win that would have put the cherry on top for probably the greatest dynasty of all time. But that didn’t happen. Since then the AFC Championship game in 2007 the Patriots have yet to win another playoff game. They lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, missed the playoffs in 2008, knocked out by the Ravens in 2009, and beat by the Jets last year.
The Patriots finished 14-2 last season and yet could not beat Rex Ryan and the Jets when it mattered most. Ryan planned the perfect game plan against Brady. They contained the dump passes. David Harris intercepted one of Brady’s running back screens. The Jets contained Wes Welker. Noticed contained he had 7 receptions and his longest reception was only 13 yards. Not as effective as Wes Welker usually is. They even contained New England’s tight end duo for the most part and let Branch beat them.
For years New England’s best defense was their offense. Brady would sustain long drives that kept the defense off the field. Maybe we’re just realizing this now that the Patriots offense hasn’t been able to do this. New England may have been able to hide their horrid defense for a few years now, but not anymore. Rex Ryan exposed a weakness for the Patriots in last years playoffs. This year his brother Rob set the blueprint to beating the Pats even though his team came up a bit short. But the Steelers and Giants based their game plans off the previous weeks game plans against the Patriots. Both teams ended up with victories. First time the Patriots lost back to back games in a while and first time they lost a home game in a long time too.
Brady has thrown 10 interceptions this season. That’s tied for the 3rd most in the NFL. He threw only 4 last season so this is a surprise. New England can’t throw the ball down the field. They have no deep threat. Ever since Randy Moss left the Patriots lost their ability to throw the ball deep down field. Ocho Cinco was supposed to fill this role, but he has been a bust this season. He’s dropping some good passes from Brady and just looks clueless out there. So far the Patriots off-season acquisitions have been busts with Ocho and Albert. Who was waived to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week.
When you have wide receivers that are only slot receivers at best you’re not going to score a lot of points. Defenses are going to put one safety back in the middle of the field and spread out their defensive backs. Welker is their best receiver, but you don’t see him lining up on the outside of the field and catching a 40 yard pass. Contain Welker, Gronk, and Hernandez and you should be set for a win. Opposing defenses don’t worry about the Patriots run game either. Green-Ellis is an okay running back and never fumbles. Maybe that’s because he barely touches the ball though. Only 108 carries so far this year for Green-Ellis.
As for the Patriots defense they’re 32nd in total yard given up. Will Mark Sanchez be able to do anything vs. them though? He’s a very average QB. He can pass well vs. bad defenses. It’s good-great defenses that give him the most trouble. I think he can give the Jets a win today. Sanchez just can’t turn the ball over because his defense is going to shut the Patriots down. They won’t allow more than 20 points today. So if the Jets can get two touchdowns and field goal or two then they’ll win.
The last time the Jets lost was to the Patriots a little over a month ago. The Patriots are headed for their first three game losing streak since 2002. If the Jets were to win today they would completely flip the script on this season. The Jets would be in the drivers seat for the AFC Divisional crown and the Patriots would most likely either get a Wild Card or miss the playoffs all together. That’s how big today’s game is for both team.
Let says the Jets win. New England is 5-4 and very confused. They lose all confidence possible and now every team you play from the season on out knows what your game plan is. You’re going to have to change it up eventually and I wouldn’t be surprised if Belichick does so this week. I just expect the Jets defense to be ready for anything today. They have the best secondary in football and can still rush the passer.
If New England wins we’re all back on the Patriots bandwagon for top team in the AFC right? Well probably not, but with a couple more wins than maybe we are. I don’t expect this to happen though. It goes against my beliefs in football during my life. Do not pick the Patriots to lose two games in a row. Let alone three times in a row. But to me I think this Patriots dynasty is heading into the good to average group rather than elite.
I may have picked them to get to the Super Bowl and beat the Packers, but that was in the pre-season. Right now it looks like that’s not going to happen. The AFC is wide open so this could be the Patriots last chance to do some damage until they find a deep threat and some defensive talent. Until then the Patriots and the rest of the AFC could be looking up to Rex Ryan and the Jets. For many years to come.